Black or Blue

The Challenges and Dilemmas of Black Police Officers

About The “Black or Blue Project"

It is a difficult set of circumstances these days for police officers from any background, but especially for Black Police Officers who

POLICE HEROES, HEROICS AND HEROISM

The following articles profile police officers and ordinary citizens – black, white and other ethnicities – who are willing to look beyond traditional racial boundaries and demonstrate their belief in the overall goodness in mankind, and their belief and commitment that all citizens be treated equitably – with justice compassion, empathy and dignity. Please share with us more posts of Police Heroes, Heroics and Heroism by sending the link to jamafenn25@gmail.com.

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How Policing Has Evolved In The US Since Its Beginnings

Has It’s Purpose Been To “PROTECT AND SERVE” Everyone?

Before a formal police system was put in place, colonies were protected by a "night watch," dating back to the 1630s


Watchmen in the 1600s. Universal History Archive / Getty.
This article is excerpted and reprinted from INSIDER by Frank Olito, April 26, 2021

In the north, as more immigrants moved into cities by the mid-1800s, citizens looked for a more formal way to keep order.

The history of the police in the South differs from other parts of the country because of the prominence of slavery.


Patrollers in the 1800s. Time Life Pictures / Getty.
This article is excerpted and reprinted from INSIDER by Frank Olito, April 26, 2021

Before a formal police system was put in place, colonies were protected by a "night watch," dating back to the 1630s.


This article is excerpted and reprinted from INSIDER by Frank Olito, April 26, 2021

In response, the first official police force was established in Boston in 1838.


Police officer in the 1800s. Bettmann / Getty.
This article is excerpted and reprinted from INSIDER by Frank Olito, April 26, 2021

In the 1800s, there were reports of corruption among some police forces.


Police officer in New York City. Alexander Alland, Jr. / Getty
This article is excerpted and reprinted from INSIDER by Frank Olito, April 26, 2021

In the early 1900s, the police forces made dramatic changes, thanks to August Vollmer.


Bettmann / Getty Alexander Alland, Jr. / Getty
This article is excerpted and reprinted from INSIDER by Frank Olito, April 26, 2021

Federal and state police forces were born in the early 1900s.


Police emptying alcohol into the sewage drain. Keystone-France / Getty
This article is excerpted and reprinted from INSIDER by Frank Olito, April 26, 2021

In the 1920s, J. Edgar Hoover created the FBI and changed the face of police work.


Policeman in his cruiser in the '50s. Three Lions / Getty
This article is excerpted and reprinted from INSIDER by Frank Olito, April 26, 2021

The '60s marked a turning point in policing.


Race riots. Hulton Archive / Getty
This article is excerpted and reprinted from INSIDER by Frank Olito, April 26, 2021

In the mid-'70s, studies found that policing was unsuccessful and departments attempted to make changes throughout the late 1900s.


Community policing. Steve Liss / Getty
This article is excerpted and reprinted from INSIDER by Frank Olito, April 26, 2021

In 1999, the police's response to the Columbine school shooting changed policing forever.


Police at Columbine High School during the 1999 shooting. Ed Andrieski/AP
This article is excerpted and reprinted from INSIDER by Frank Olito, April 26, 2021

In 2001, after 9/11, policing changed yet again as departments shifted their focus to counterterrorism.


NYPD counter-terrorism. Kathy Willens/ AP
This article is excerpted and reprinted from INSIDER by Frank Olito, April 26, 2021

In 2001, after 9/11, policing changed yet again as departments shifted their focus to counterterrorism.


NYPD counter-terrorism. Kathy Willens/ AP
This article is excerpted and reprinted from INSIDER by Frank Olito, April 26, 2021

Throughout the 21st century, police have been called out for their unfair treatment of Black people and other minorities.


A police officer administering a stop-and-frisk. New York Daily News / Getty
This article is excerpted and reprinted from INSIDER by Frank Olito, April 26, 2021

In 2014, a New York City police officer put Eric Garner in a chokehold while arresting him, leading to Garner's death.


Eric Garner. YouTube
This article is excerpted and reprinted from INSIDER by Frank Olito, April 26, 2021

Some departments attempted to make changes, like implementing body cameras.


A police body camera. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton
This article is excerpted and reprinted from INSIDER by Frank Olito, April 26, 2021

In 2020, a police officer was caught on camera kneeling on George Floyd's neck in Minneapolis.


A chain portrait of George Floyd. Jim Mone/AP
This article is excerpted and reprinted from INSIDER by Frank Olito, April 26, 2021

During the summer of 2020, protests erupted all over the US, demanding institutional change in police work, and some people called for the police to be defunded.


Protesters in Minneapolis. AP
This article is excerpted and reprinted from INSIDER by Frank Olito, April 26, 2021

In 2021, officer Derek Chauvin was found guilty of the murder of George Floyd, and many hope it will spark change in policing.


Derek Chauvin watches as his attorney gives his closing argument.
CourtTV/Pool camera
This article is excerpted and reprinted from INSIDER by Frank Olito, April 26, 2021

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The Journey of Black Officers in Law Enforcement

African American Police Officers were appointed to Police Departments beginning in the late 1860’s:

  • 1867:  The African-American police officers are appointed to the police department in Selma, Alabama
  • 1868: African American officers appointed in Jackson, Florida, and in 1870 by officers in Houston and Galveston, Texas.
  • 1870: African American officers appointed in Houston and Galveston, Texas.
  • By 1870: New Orleans, Louisiana had 177 African American Officers and three of five Police Board members were African American


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April 12, 1870: Officer William Johnson of Jacksonville, Florida becomes the first recognized African American police officer killed in the line of duty.

His name is etched along with the names of over 22,000 fallen officers on the walls of the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial in Washington, D.C. Unfortunately, due to the 150+ year gap between the date of Officer Johnson’s death and today, not much is known about Officer Johnson during his career.

  • 1875: Bass Reeves was appointed as the first African American Deputy U.S. Marshal
Isaac Brown (1880-1917)

According to the Denver Police Museum, Isaac Brown was elected in April 15 of 1880. Police officer elections were something relatively new. Officer Brown served the Denver Police Department for 10 years. Denver Police Museum

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Karen’s At It Again! Who Is Karen? The name “Karen” is a disapproving or disparaging term for the behavior of certain middle class white women who behave in a demanding, demeaning and entitled manner. They demonstrate through their behaviors a sense of privilege and superiority that they believe entitles them to have their way, and to make others accountable to them.

When they don’t get their way, their list of behaviors may include angry rants, racist rants, temper tantrums, obnoxious verbal attacks, violence against non-compliers, histrionics, demands to speak to the manager, and calling the police. Once the police arrive, they often portray themselves as the victim, claiming that the actual victim attacked them, made them feel uncomfortable or insulted them in some way. A perfect example of a “Karen” is the 2020 Central Park Bird Watching Incident.

Please share with us moreKaren Videosto post by sending the link to jamafenn25@gmail.com, if they involve thepolice being called, and if the event occurred during2020-21. We will evaluate your videos for posting. Thank you in advance for helping us keep in the forefront of society’s mind the pernicious impact of “Karen” behavior on the human psyche and the deleterious impact of “Karens” on our negatively shifting culture.

1. “The Victoria Secret Karen!” Please pay close attention to the histrionics, the attack on the victim, the slow faint that allows her to lay her head gently on her
purse as she falls, and the empathy shown to her by the police.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WDcRSv0a3KM
2. The “Central Park bird watching incident!”
Please notice how this Karen
morphs from a defiant villain confronting the birdwatcher, to a hysterical female victim whose life is being threatened by an African American male when speaking to the police.
https://www.kqed.org/arts/13900749/central-park-karen-amy-
cooper-remains-unrepentant-about-central-park-karen-ing
3. “Bagel Karen & Hotel Karen!” Please see two very empowered Karens accusing and attacking African American males. While one Karen attacked with the
vicious “N” word, the other Karen physically attacked her victim. She made a point to say that she meant what she said and is not sorry.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fZuJYdyRrFc
4. “The ‘You Look Illegal’ Karen!” An empowered Karen calls the police from a Walmart parking lot because he looks illegal to her. She demeans the man and tells the police multiple times that he is from Mexico. https://www.reddit.com/r/FuckYouKaren/comments/gnbqkr/
woman_calls_cops_on_man_because_he_looks_illegal/
 

Please Find Posted Below One Or More Of The More Recent “Karen” Episodes

A CALL FOR “KAREN’S AT IT AGAIN” VIDEOS

Please share with us more Karen Videos to post by sending the link to jfenn@prof-resources.com, if they involve the police being called, and if the event occurred during 2020-21. We will evaluate your videos for posting. Thank you in advance for helping us keep in the forefront of society’s mind the pernicious impact of “Karen” behavior on the human psyche and the deleterious impact of “Karens” on our negatively shifting culture.

The "Black or Blue Project" Team

All Black Police Officers

WE NEED YOUR HELP ON THE "BLACK OR BLUE PROJECT"

About the “Black or Blue” Project

It is a difficult set of circumstances these days for police officers from any background, but especially for Black Police Officers who are often torn between their commitment to their oath of office and their commitment to their culture and their communities.  At the end of the day, Black Police Officers must face their families and their black communities back at home, feeling that they have acted with honor – that they have served and protected the black community as well as the white community.  During one of the most turbulent, most racially inflamed and divided times in modern history, it is our goal to capture How Black Police Officers feel:  your realities, your personal conflicts, your truths, your lived experiences. We believe that collecting and sharing this information will not only serve communities far into the future by broadening understanding and insight into Black Police officer roles, but also in influencing policies and procedures. Moreover, we believe that the engagement by Black Police Officers in this survey will be a cathartic and healing experience for Black Police Officers on a personal level.  To assist us, we ask your help by please completing this Multiple-Choice Survey, with one final question at the end that encourages you to share insights we may have overlooked. As we will solicit no identifying information other than (1) certifying that you are an active Black Police Officer, (2) your tenure as a police officer, and (3) your officer rank, none of the data reported from this survey will allow for personal identification, providing the greatest protection to all participants & We thank you in advance for your participation – helping us to identify, confirm and highlight the realities and dilemmas faced by Black Police Officers daily! The “Black or Blue Project ” Team